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FL Convention Center Proposal Tops $1B

Monday, September 24, 2018

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To revitalize dead zones along Bay Street in Jacksonville, Florida, three firms have submitted proposals—one of which tops $1 billion—for the construction of a convention center and hotel. The site being eyed for redevelopment once housed the old county courthouse as well as a hotel and family amusement park.

A three-member evaluation committee recently listened to and scored the proposals, which were submitted by Preston Hollow Capital LLC; Jacobs Project Management Co.; and Rimrock, Devlin, DeBartolo Jacksonville LLC.

Stadium Proposals

For the project, the city of Jacksonville requires a 350-room convention hotel, 1,700 parking spaces, a minimum of 200,000 square feet of public exhibition space, a 40,000-square-foot ballroom, 45 meeting rooms and a restaurant.

The Jacobs proposal would have the city pay $1.2 billion over 25 years; the firm would finance the cost up front while also managing the facility, with the city covering the cost of operating losses but also sharing in the profits. The Rimrock proposal would cost $936 million over 30 years, but the city would be responsible for operations and the associated costs. Unlike the other proposals, Preston Hollow is asking the city to finance half of a $458 million project, but further details were yet to be released before a final decision could be made.

According to The Florida Times-Union, the three-member evaluation committee that examined the proposals included: Downtown Investment Authority CEO Aundra Wallace, DIA board member Oliver Barakat and city Public Works Director John Pappas.

Firm Selection

On Wednesday (Sept. 19), the Downtown Investment Authority voted that Jacobs is the top-ranked firm to handle the construction of the new hotel, convention center and parking garage. This recent step is just the first for the project. Moving forward, the city must decide if it wants to accept the cost of a new convention center. Given the cost and longevity of the project, Wallace noted that the choice was a “generational decision.”

The next step entails DIA board Chairman Jim Bailey meeting with Mayor Lenny Curry to discuss the project’s progression.

“The market spoke, and it told you they’re not going to build you a convention center for free, so if you want to have this conversation about having a convention center, it’s going to take a public-private partnership,” Wallace said.

   

Tagged categories: Convention Centers; Design; Project Management; Urban Planning

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